Our Spring magazine is finally here! Click here to view and read our new articles!

Until The End: Part 4

On the far-flung planet of Hayveon Blaze, a plucky army commander, is fighting a seemingly hopeless battle.  In a universe where empires span solar systems, a great war has split the galaxy into three. UCEF, the Union of Creature Energy Force, is an alliance of aliens fighting for freedom and justice. But set against the Cosmaratic Empire and the Barrens, an empire with mind-controlled citizens, UCEF must achieve the impossible in order to win peace.

Part 4

Blaze’s rifle fired its last shot and it was with satisfaction he saw the Barren fall. The last two men from the Barren’s latest offensive collapsed, a pair of Dino gunners putting them down.

The Barren attack had faltered, after their victory in the trenches they had hoped to push on and break the defences. However the defenders had rallied to Blaze and under his guidance and the covering fire of the bastion they had held the Barrens off the northern gate. Now the Barren army was stumbling in its advance, in the last half hour they had barely gained any ground. UCEF forces in the bastion and the defences had held them back. Lacking heavy support and any decisive leadership, the Barrens had simply staggered into a killing field.

Blaze could not even count the fallen Barrens; the ground between the first and second trenches was littered with them like leaves in autumn, but these leaves were blue and disturbingly Human. On the other hand he could count his own casualties on one paw. A mere five Dinos had fallen; six more had been injured, but compared to the toll they had taken on the Barrens it was not such a bad price to pay.

‘Blip!’ His rifle announced it was charged and with a weary sigh Blaze hoisted it back up to the parapet; there was no movement. Dusk was swiftly drawing in, the short days and nights of Hayveon were a cause of great irritation. The dwindling light made energy blasts show up all the more… the blue ones were conspicuous by their absence.

“They’re turning back! We’ve beaten them!” R3298 cried in triumph. Blaze smiled a grim smile, beaten, no, momentarily halted, yes.

“We’ve won!!!” A great cheer went up from around the defences as the Dinos lowered exhausted arms and overheated weapons. Blaze squinted into the rapidly closing darkness and could just about make out Barrens slinking back from the first line of trenches, harassed by UCEF gunners. For now at least, they were safe.

His communicator bleeped at him, pulling out his small computer he tapped the ‘activate’ button.

“Excellent work soldier, the Barrens are pulling back,” it was bastion command.

“Thank you sir, it was a close run thing though,” Blaze replied, now he was talking to a superior he added the respectful ‘sir’.

“How are you faring?”

“Thirty one of us left, eight of whom are wounded, although only four are serious, sir. We lost six overall,” Blaze replied. “How are the other fronts looking?”

“I’m relieved casualties are so few, we’ll open the gates to let the wounded in. East and west sides are relatively secure, as you know the Barrens predominantly attacked from the north,” the Dino from bastion command replied.

“Good. What are your orders sir?”

“Move the injured into the bastion and bolster defences. Grab what rest you can; we expect the Barrens will be back soon.”

“Yes sir,” Blaze affirmed, although those weren’t words he wanted to hear. He had hoped command had a counter offensive planned or some great scheme to break the back of the Barren assault. The order to sit and wait for their foe to come back tasted sour. The Barrens would certainly be better prepared when they returned and thirty one valiant gunners would not hold back an army, even with the support of the bastion.

“We are working to repair main guns and fortify the bastion in case the Barrens break the defences.” That was no consolation and he should have said ‘when’ not ‘in case’, but Blaze held his tongue.

“Good, we’re going to need them,” Blaze replied with sincerity, omitting the ‘sir’.

“Indeed, keep fighting soldier; your squads are doing admirably.”

“Blaze, my name is Blaze, sir.”

“We shall inform you if anything changes, Blaze,” with that the conversation finished and the other end went dead. Blaze frowned and returned the minicomputer to its holster at the back of his belt.

“What are our orders sir?” R318 asked, all eyes were on Blaze, looking to him for guidance.

“Help the wounded into the bastion,” Blaze started as the gates behind them rumbled open. “The rest of us have been ordered to wait here until the Barrens return.”

“That’s… it?” R318 asked in disappointment.

“Those are our orders,” Blaze noted R318’s disappointed face… “But not what we’re going to be doing…”

_____________________________________

Look out for  Part 5 of Matthew Gill’s story!